In The Green Kitchen by Alice Waters opens with a few pages discussing the proper way to wash lettuce and then how to dress it. Making a salad might not seem like a technique that needs to be taught but then how many of our salads come from prepackaged bags of mixed greens and are tossed with bottled dressing?
This Cherry Tomato and Tofu Salad was created by Momofuku chef David Chang for Waters' In The Green Kitchen project. It's a riff on the classic caprese salad but with an Asian twist that has become Chang's calling card. Mozzarella is replaced by slices of tofu which might seem to be an unlikely combination but in fact mirrors the mozzarella's creamy mildness. The dressing is a vinaigrette with soy sauce and sesame oil in addition to olive oil and sherry vinegar. In place of basil, Chang subs in shiso leaves for an herbal menthol kick.
This recipe is all about mastering a simple technique (making a vinaigrette) and pairing it with ingredients of a certain quality which is something that Waters stresses throughout In The Green Kitchen. It's a dish that doesn't require the skills of a seasoned chef, just a little bit of thought and the desire to make something really wonderful.
Win In The Green Kitchen
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of In The Green Kitchen to give away this week.
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- A few drops of toasted sesame oil
- A dash of sherry vinegar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Sea salt
- Fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1 cup ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 slices very fresh tofu or yuba (tofu skin), 1/2 inch thick and about 2 by 4 inches
- Shiso leaves
Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toasted sesame oil is very potent and should be used sparingly. Add the dressing and the sesame seeds to the cherry tomatoes and mix together. Arrange the tofu on a plate and spoon over the tomatoes and dressing. Cut fresh shiso leaves into fine ribbons, or tear the leaves into pieces, and scatter over the tomatoes and tofu, then serve.